Last week while on the nuEra’s Full Spectrum podcast (coming out soon), I was asked if the Illinois Cannabis Social Equity Program was working. My answer was that it didn’t matter what I thought. What mattered were accurate data and statistics. Though I did not have updated data on hand during the interview, I knew the statistics for Illinois Cannabis Social Equity Program were not where they were predicted to be. Little did I know the statistics where way worse than I imagined.
This week, the Department of Financial & Professional Regulation released its Annual Cannabis Report for fiscal year 2021. A couple blaring statistics and graphics of interest included the Dispensing Organization Ownership Demographics for Persons with an Ownership Interest by Race/Ethnicity and Ownership by Gender.
As seen in the 2021 Annual Cannabis Report graphic for Persons with an Ownership Interest by Race/Ethnicity, Illinois’ diversity ownership for dispensing organizations was nearly nonexistent. According to the IDFPR report, only one African-American had ownership interest in a dispensing organization. Furthermore, only four Hispanics and twelve Asians had ownership interest in a dispensing organization.
In contrast, 209 Caucasians had ownership interest in dispensing organizations in Illinois. Compared to 2020 fiscal year, Caucasian with ownership interest increased from 204 to 209. Meanwhile, African-American ownership interest remained at one, and Asian ownership remained at twelve. Hispanics ownership interest was the only diverse ownership that increased, from two to four.
For 2021, Caucasians combined for 92% of ownership interest in Illinois. In contrast, African-American ownership interest was at 0.44%, and Hispanic ownership interest was at 1.77%, and Asian ownership interest was at 5.3%.
In addition, the Persons with an Ownership by Gender statistics also showed a large discrepancy between men and women ownership that became worse, not better, from 2020. In 2021, 193 men had ownership of dispensing organizations compared to 33. Only 17.1% of women had an ownership in the dispensing organization. This percentage was down from 2020. In 2020, 177 men and 42 women (23.7%) had ownership.
The Illinois Cannabis Social Equity Program was originally designed to offer disadvantaged people and communities of color disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs an opportunity to benefit from the cannabis industry.
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